|Blimey! All of a sudden everything’s gone a bit tunnel vision, a bit fuzzy round
the edges. This thing really is seriously ballistic, the straight is
fast disappearing, the engine howling at 9000 rpm. Time for the brakes
and a blip down into third for the Chobham banking. Grip, serious grip.
The momentum pushes you up the shallow bank as the car keeps on accelerating.
Out of the corner, floor it. Engine pick-up is instant and the revs
whip round to 8500 rpm. Back into fourth, flat out at 120 mph thanks
to sprint gearing.
Steve Broughton’s Vauxhall propelled Westfield-come-rocket-ship has
changed a bit since I drove it last year. For a start it’s no longer
a road car. Free of the restraints of the highway, Steve has binned
things like lights and windscreens, heater and road tyres. This is a
fully fledged racer, and a winning one too. In case you didn’t know,
Steve Broughton is the SB behind Vauxhall tuning specialists SB Developments.
Steve knows a bit about tuning Vauxhall 16-valve engines, and the Westfield
is a bit of a rolling advert for his undoubted talents. The 270 bhp
engine fitted is one of Steve’s ultimate spec engines. But it’s not
just the engine that’s impressive. It’s quite obvious that Steve is
just as adept with suspension geometry and general car set-up, not to
mention aerodynamics and even ground effects.
in the CCC Speed Championship and has designed his Westfield
to run in the Sports Libre class. That means he’s up against some very
quick Mallocks which have serious downforce dynamics, if not the ultimate
grunt of this Westfield. This is only Steve’s second season, but he’s
not experiencing much of a learning curve given that in his first season
he won the overall Southern Championship And that was despite swapping
between the road-going kit car and sports libre classes.
car is all new and features a whole load of trick bits, and improvements
over last year’s car. For a start the chassis is both lighter and more
rigid. The standard Westfield chassis is designed to take a variety
of engines and for that reason the front is comparatively open. There
is plenty of opportunity to stiffen it up with extra tubes, and the
factory agreed to modify a lightweight racing chassis to Steve’s specification.
He has also taken the opportunity to have some extra tubes added to
the rear. The result is a complete lack of flexing and an incredibly
stable ride. The latter is also helped by Westfield’s new wide track
front suspension set-up.
the suspension is fully rose-jointed. Steve favours Avo dampers and
has had some specially valved to his own specification. He claims that
he has still to properly sort out the geometry, but I couldn’t feel
much wrong with it! The sticky 14in Avon slicks give incredible grip
but progressively so. You can really push into a corner and feel the
car start to give. It is confidence inspiring more than anything, knowing
that its not suddenly going to come round and bite you on the bum!
impressive, of course, is the sheer oomph that Steve’s engine building
skills provide. Steve wasn’t actually planning to build a 270 bhp motor,
it just kind of happened. This sort of power, lest we forget, is the
kind of grunt that 2-litre Touring Car engines used to produce a few
years back. When utilised to power a mere 480kg’s of Westfield, it’s
is some lightweight internals that allow the engine to really rev, coupled
with Steve’s tapered throttle body injection set-up and a heavy breathing
cylinder head. A mere brush on the throttle is enough to send the rev
counter blipping to the red zone, the engine is seriously responsive.
In fact, Steve advises not to change down a gear mid-corner, as the
resulting engine de-acceleration will spin the car round.
a steel crank specially designed and manufactured by Doug Kiddey, who
also makes the cranks for the Mercedes/Ilmor F1 engine. This is a massive
25% lighter than previous efforts. This turns ultra light Arrow con
rods and specially made Omega race pistons. As this is being written,
Steve is out of stock of all these goodies since the TWR Formula 3 team
scooped up everything he had, and since doing so have started to win
despite such power from just four cylinders and two litres, the engine
is amazingly tractable and can be teased off line with just a few revs
(should you want to). Ah, the wonders of engine management.
the car bristles with innovative touches. Under the nose a front, F1
style, splitter cuts through the airflow. Does it work? Well Steve’s
F1 mates tell him that it will make some difference. Likewise the rear
ground effects undertray, properly moulded from fibreglass (aluminium
lash-ups tend to distort when the air starts rushing around them), should
in theory help keep the car glued down. If you’re interested, Steve
can offer both these items to fellow Westfield racers or, indeed, road
driven a few Westfields in my time, and being the owner of a race Westfield,
I can say this is probably the best handling and dynamically impressive
one I have ever driven. Above all, despite its rampant power delivery,
it is easy to drive. And when you can concentrate on the driving rather
than wrestling with the car as it tries to catch you out, then that
is half the battle.
Ecotec tuning developments from the SBD workshops.
Wind back to the March’96 issue of CCC, and you will recall
that we were getting pretty excited about the tuning potential
of the new Vauxhall 1600, 16-valve Ecotec engine. Just by fitting
his tapered throttle body fuel injection system, Steve has seen
a solid 164 bhp from an otherwise stock engine. That’s seriously
impressive. What’s so good about the 1600 Ecotec? Well lets recap
briefly. Unlike the 1800 and 2-litre Ecotec 16-valvers, the 1600
engine features a power friendly cylinder head. In fact, according
to Steve, it is quite obvious that the 1600 Ecotec was designed
to be the smaller power producing brother to the legendary 150
bhp 2-litre Vauxhall unit. The head is reputed to have been designed
by Cosworth, and doesn’t feature the emissions trickery of the
other engines. It is thought that the 1600 Ecotec was designed
with power in mind. In fact the only thing that Vauxhall has done
to keep the power down is fit very mild cams. The evidence is
plain to see. Take the valve sizes: 31mm inlet valves and 27.4mm
exhaust valves compared to the original Vauxhall engine of 33mm
and 29mm respectively. Doing some quick calculations, this means
the 1600 has 88% of the 2-litre’s inlet valve area from just 80%
of its capacity. This effectively means that the1600 runs larger
valves than the excellent power-producing 2-litre engine. And
it gets better. The 1600 valves have a 6mm stem while the 2-litre
runs 7mm, so the effective area is better on the smaller engine.
Things are just as good on the exhaust front. The 1600 engine
has 89% of the 2-litre’s valve area - even better than the inlets.
As a percentage of inlet-to-exhaust ratio - another good sign
for tuning potential. The two engines also use identical cam followers.
Given that the standard engine gives such excellent power, Steve
reckoned that 175-180 bhp would be a mere formality with some
tweaky cams. And that was the next phase of the project that we
were expecting to cover. However, this has been put on ice (Steve
has developed a 180 bhp spec, but we’re concentrating on bigger
and better things here) since Steve was given the opportunity
to fully develop the engine with a serious cash injection from,
of all places, Russia? Starting from scratch, Steve had just eight
weeks to develop an ultimate spec 1600 Ecotec engine. Given the
engine’s similarities to the 2-litre unit, Steve decided to go
for a scaled-down version of the 270 bhp engine that resides in
his Westfield, bar a few changes. Down at the bottom end only
the standard crank remains, since a Doug Kiddey crank couldn’t
be manufactured in time. This turns Arrow rods and lightweight
Omega Race pistons. At the top end the head is virtually standard
aside from basic stuff like matching up the ports and wasted valves.
An all new SBD cam profile has been adopted for the 1600 engine.
Steve describes this as a bit of a concept cam in that is was
a bit hit and miss as to whether it was going to work. But work
it most certainly does. Fuelling is naturally by Steve’s highly
successful tapered throttle body injection set up with engine
management via an MBE black box. Power? Well you’re dying to know
are you not? Well given that this is the beginning of the development
programme, 202 bhp is pretty stunning we’re sure you will agree.
A good 220 bhp must surely be on the agenda with a steel crank,
bigger valves and peakier cams. A Corsa with 200+bhp would be
a pretty potent device but what about a Westfield or a Caterham?
As soon as someone starts running one of these engines in, say,
an up to 1700cc class in sprints and hillclimbs, whether it be
in 164, 180 or 202 bhp form, then it’s bye bye Crossflow, Zetec
or even K-Series. Even an all steel Crossflow would be struggling
against any of these specs and the Zetec and K-Series don’t really
have the cylinder head potential to produce this sort of power,
not from 1600cc’s anyway. And there are plenty of these engines
around too. A mere £400/£500 should get you a good low mileage
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